Jim’s a high school journalism teacher by day, and he often reads award-winning journalism articles to his students. This song was inspired by a piece written by Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Rick Bragg. The article, titled “Where Alabama Inmates Fade into Old Age” (New York Times, Nov. 1, 1995) discusses the issues facing old and infirm inmates in already overcrowded prisons. The main “face” (primary source) is a man named Grant Cooper who was imprisoned in 1978 for murder but who now lives in a special prison ward where tubes dangle from his arms and other inmates care for him. The lead of the story reads, “Grant Cooper knows he lives in prison, but there are days when he cannot remember why.”

(Lyrics by Jim Streisel)

See the girl in the parking lot
Rode hard, givin’ what she’s got
When she was young she was red hot
But she soon became the one that everybody forgot

There’s a boy with a sawed off shotgun
His dreams are different from the time he was young
The time that he was gonna, he was gonna get some
But he messed it up and now he’s on the run

When you fall
It doesn’t take too long
But when you try to climb your way up on the wall
You find you’re far too gone

See the pusher standing way over there
He’s got a gold tooth and a ten-mile stare
He thought one day he was gonna get somewhere
But now he’s lookin’ at a date with the electric chair

Young kid don’t know what to do
He’s got no home and his family needs food
He wants to go to school and learn the golden rule
But he’s gotta live, now what would you do?

Man in a cell with a tube in his vein
When he was just a kid, he was a bad man
The judge gave him life and threw away his plans
But after 60 years, he can’t even understand




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